A Lanarkshire couple have experienced every parent's worst nightmare, the death of their baby. What's more, they say their child could still be alive if they had been offered a simple NHS test costing only £11.
Zach Blackie was just 2 weeks old when he died in his mum's arms in August from meningitis caused by a group B streptococcus infection, the Daily Record reports. Now the grieving parents are calling for change, yesterday taking the fight for mandatory testing to Holyrood's public petitions committee.
Zach's mother Shaheen McQuade had unknowingly carried the infection but, had she been given a swab when she was pregnant, it reportedly could have been treated with antibiotics.
Speaking of her and partner Craig Blackie's loss, McQuade said, "Zach was not given the right to live. I've been denied the right to have my son in my life and watch him grow up. Instead I have been sentenced to a lifetime of heartache.
"To lose a baby is devastating, to know it could have been prevented is torture. This has to change.
"I think it's neglect. The NHS took a gamble with my son's life and they lost. I don't want any other parents or families to suffer what we have had to go through."
McQuade has already received support from MSPs, who have called upon the Scottish Government to take action and ensure that routine screenings are mandatory.
The statistics are scary, with one in five women in the U.K. reportedly carrying the group B streptococcus bacteria in their systems. According to the University of Oxford the bacterium is passed from mother to baby at birth, affecting around one in 2,000 babies under 3 months old each year.
The NHS claims that most cases are successfully treated but one in 10 babies affected will die.
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